Victims of crime in Cleveland will soon have access to a newly refreshed victim advice and support service, following a thorough assessment of their needs.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland commissioned a major study into the needs of victims in the area, which was carried out by the Independent Centre for Public Innovation (CPI).
The research revealed on average just 1.2% of crime victims are supported by services in Cleveland each year and awareness of the support available is a key barrier to victims accessing advice.
A number of crime types are underrepresented among those receiving support, including victim’s of cyber crime. Those from marginalised communities, young people and men also access support in low numbers.
Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “It’s really important that any service we develop effectively meets the needs of the people who access it.
“This research has painted a really clear picture that the number of victims accessing service is just a drop in the ocean – and I have a responsibility to ensure this improves.”
Following the review, the specification for a new-look service has been developed, to enhance the support already on offer across the county.
The new service will aim to reach more victims across Cleveland’s diverse communities and will include expertise in areas such as cyber crime and hate crime.
Currently Stockton-based charity Safer Communities delivers Cleveland’s victim referral service – the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS.)
During 2020/21, VCAS has provided high-quality support and advice to over 2,800 victims of crime and anti-social behaviour across Cleveland.
The procurement process for the new service is now open and runs until 12 November 2021. Bids will be assessed on quality as well as value for money.
PCCs have a statutory duty to ensure all victims of crime have access to appropriate support, ensure they have a voice and promote the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
For more information and to apply for the victims’ contract, go to: Public quote/tender – Victim Referral Services (eu-supply.com)